Severe Mercies

it was a rough day yesterday... rough like an electric sander just kinda sawed through the evening (and i do mean that literally, but no story necessary.)

 and i've been feeling a lot of things that have kept me on an emotional edge, easily affected by the slightest joy or frustration. everything seems to have a deeper meaning and just as a sunny drive down gray branch road can teach me about the simplicity of God's provision for the birds and fields and wildflowers, so the ring of rust i just found under the shaving cream can can make feel like my whole word is just totally out of control and falling apart.

i've been thinking a lot about God's will these days, and what it means to be in it and remain in it. and how much control will God allow us to have over his will for our lives (or, how much will he let us mess things up) before he brings us back. and i've been trying to comprehend how he has to discipline and punish us in order to bless us with the rich, pleasant goodness of his will.

i have this friend who's marriage was falling apart. i've followed her through this incredibly hard journey of pain, consequence and shame... all as a result of sin creeping in and finally taking over in a huge hurricane of destruction. i've listened as she wept and lamented her sin, her bad choices and the mess she was left with. but, amazingly, i've seen God take what was not just broken... but what was dead... and breath life into it again. i've seen what the world would throw away as trash become something precious and more beautiful than it ever was. i've seen forgiveness, restoration, grace, mercy and love prove that God can do anything. My husband said the other night that it was totally unbelievable, "like two people in a car that was heading off a cliff, but they jumped out at the last minute, and caught onto little branches and dirt and were dangling and struggling, but finally climbed up and are now standing there on solid ground together."

so this has been on my mind a lot. the sheer power of God, and what happens when we stray from his will, and how much he desires us to remain there where he can bless us. how he will mercifully bring us back when we refuse to accept his goodness, with what my friend calls a "severe mercy."

it changes the way i understand everything. God's will is not just some mysterious treasure that he hides from us, he is constantly and intensely desiring to bless to his people so that we can be his people and bless others (check out my adoption bible study for much more on that. but we choose idols over him and then wonder why everything is crashing down around us. but his goodness and mercy is so great that he will continually allow us back into the life that he wants for us. but (another but) his mercy is not without consequences and even his intense love can be severe.

all i know is that his love for me, his desires for me, are better than anything else i might dream up for myself. that i can trust.

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